The gallery below shows high quality photographs of Red Kite (Milvus milvus), in flight, close up, diving, perched and on the ground.
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Red Kite: A beautiful Oxfordshire Red Kite flying through a River Meadow, with some golden evening sun light - a really beautiful raptor.

Red Kite: A beautiful Oxfordshire Red Kite flying through a River Meadow, with some golden evening sun light - a really beautiful raptor.

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The Red Kite [Milvus milvus] is a magnificent raptor that has made an amazing come-back since it nearly became extinct through human predation and the extensive use of dangerous agricultural pesticides.
A reintroduction program in England and Scotland in the late 1990s and again in 2004, saw over 200 pairs produce eggs with almost 300 successful juveniles taking flight. The latest [pessimistic] estimate is that England has more than 2000 pairs of Red Kites.

A medium-large bird of prey, the Red Kite has a wing span of up to 180cm [70”] and with its long-forked tail can measure up to 70cm [28”] in length.

The beautiful plumage of the Red Kite has to be seen to be appreciated.  Some of the images above show the wonderful chest and neck feathers and of course that distinctive tail, unique to the Kite family and so powerful in the aerial acrobatics that can be seen in the skies above.

The Red Kite is a scavenger and will eat almost anything.  For a large raptor it has small, weak talons and cannot attack larger mammals that a Common Buzzard might prefer.  Earth worms are the favourite food source of the Red Kites, which can often be seen following many a Farmer’s tractor around the British countryside.  The other favourite foods include; carrion, mice, voles, shrews, small birds and small reptiles.  However, many youngsters will also see the Red Kites clearing up the discarded snacks and trash in a school playground, after the children have returned to class.
It should be noted that most family pets are not at risk from the Red Kites circling over their properties. As mentioned above, only very small mammals need to be protected from aerial attack.  It is unusual to see a Red Kite sat on the ground feeding.  Most Kites, swoop down at very high speed and snatch the food [see images above], the Kites will also been seen eating their food 'on the wing' while still flying.

A rare sighting of a Red Kite feeding on the ground, on a windy day in a rural Oxfordshire meadow

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